Freeze/thaw cycles during cold months are the most common cause of damage to the surface of concrete flatwork. Concrete is a porous material that will absorb moisture at the surface. When the absorbed moisture freezes, in exerts a tremendous expansive force, which weakens the surface and sometimes leads to scaling. Concrete less than one year old, and particularly concrete poured after November 1st, is particularly vulnerable to freeze/thaw cycle damage.
De-icing products can be composed of a variety of different chemicals that are harmful to concrete. State, county and municipality street departments frequently use magnesium chloride based materials in the past, a chemical that exacerbates the probability of damage to concrete as a result of snow and water drippings from vehicles.
The most damaging effect of using de-icers is not the chemicals themselves, rather that they increase the number of freeze/thaw cycles experienced by flatwork during cold months.
Repetitive cycles amplify the weakening effects caused by freezing moisture at the surface of the concrete. As a general rule, de-icing products should not be applied to exterior concrete flatwork that is less than one year old.
Liberty Ready Mix prides itself on providing quality products to its customers. We use concrete mixes for exterior flatwork that meet or exceed industry standards for compressive strength and air-entrainment. Air-entrained concrete mixes contain tiny air bubbles that provide spaces within the concrete for expanding water to move into, thereby reducing the expansive stresses associated with freezing moisture in the concrete.
You should inform all of your customers to take the following precautions. This will help to reduce the number of call backs that you get, in turn reducing tear-out and replacement losses.